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Archived Author Help > How do you choose a reviewer?

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message 1: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Maguire | 35 comments I've been thinking about trying to get my book reviewed, but I've noticed there's an overwhelming number of sites doing reviews. I've also noticed they range from obviously great places to get a review that likely won't even open an email from a nobody newbie like me to a site some guy threw up and likely can't even get his mom to visit. I was just wondering if anyone had any tips on how to tell if a review site is likely to have real readers looking at the reviews or quick ways to narrow down all the options and pick the best one. Alternatively, if anyone actually knows of a reviewer who will review an unknown first indie novel in the humor mystery genre and not be super harsh if it's not a literary work of art, that would make my day and you would be my new best friend forever.


message 2: by Morris (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) Don't pay a cent for a review. It is a violation at Amazon. The best way is to prep your book with Create Space for print on demand and hold a goodreads giveaway. For paper copies, the reviewer is obliged to give an honest review. It is cheaper to buy each book from CS and ship them directly to the winners. I would suggest giving away as many books as you can afford.


message 3: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4270 comments Mod
My way is very odd, but it works for me. I don't actively seek reviews. I occasionally put a story out for free and it usually results in a couple of nice reviews on that story. The closest I come to asking is a small little request in the back of some of my stories.

Works for me as I like organic reviews best.


message 4: by J C (new)

J C Steel (jcsteel) Shannon wrote: "I've been thinking about trying to get my book reviewed, but I've noticed there's an overwhelming number of sites doing reviews. I've also noticed they range from obviously great places to get a re..."

Check out NetGallery; also https://bookreviewdirectory.com/ ... there are also quite a few people here who show up in forums and offer to review for a free copy.

I agree with Morris, generally paying for reviews is a bad idea and you can't use them on Amazon except in the 'editorial review' area.

Knockin' Books blog also reviews books for free and has reasonably high visit stats.

Keep in mind that individual reviewers may have lousy little sites, but if they review for free they can post their reviews on Amazon / B&N, Kobo, etc. provided they acknowledge they received the book for nothing in exchange for a review.


message 5: by Anthony Deeney (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Reviews will happen, like death and taxes. Just wait, Give your book away on kindle free days to speed them up!

Don't buy them!


message 6: by B.K. (new)

B.K. Harrell (bkharrell) | 23 comments Is there anything wrong with posting in various locations asking for a review or emailing people directly to ask for a review?


message 7: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "Is there anything wrong with posting in various locations asking for a review or emailing people directly to ask for a review?"

Not if you're not breaking rules when you do it. For instance, in this group we have one spot for people to request reviews, and one spot only. Generally if you link to your book anywhere else on this forum here, and it's not to ask for help for whatever, we delete it. But on other boards they welcome authors offering their books in the appropriate places.


message 8: by C.B., Beach Body Moderator (new)

C.B. Archer | 1090 comments Mod
Morris wrote: "Don't pay a cent for a review. It is a violation at Amazon. The best way is to prep your book with Create Space for print on demand and hold a goodreads giveaway. For paper copies, the reviewer is ..."

Goodreads Giveaway winners are not obligated to leave reviews.

Although, I did read that ones that do leave reviews of their winnings have a better chance of winning again. Their entries get weighted... but that might just have been hopeful book give-away-ers trying to bump up reviews.


message 9: by Anthony Deeney (new)

Anthony Deeney | 437 comments Bryan wrote: "Is there anything wrong with posting in various locations asking for a review or emailing people directly to ask for a review?"

Nothing wrong with that. Like Dwayne, I have an "unashamed request" at the end of my books.

Just no money!


message 10: by Morris (last edited Jun 08, 2016 10:06AM) (new)

Morris Graham (morris_g) One good tried and true method is to place a review link at the end of the book, so while they're thinking about it, they can click on the link. I would use this in combination with a $0.99 sale you run, say, for a week. With the sale, pay for some advertizing, say like to many books.com, or Robin reads.


message 11: by Grace (new)

Grace Crandall | 79 comments You can also look up 'book reviewers' or 'book review blogs' (there are whole goodreads groups for connecting reviewers with writers). Once you find a blogger you like, you can look at their review policy (these vary in strictness and exactitude) and if that fits your book, then follow their blog. Ideally, you want to follow for a while and read (and like, share, or comment on) a few of their reviews before you ask them to review anything for you--most bloggers accept review requests via email. General rules are to be polite, professional, genuinely interested in the reviewer (not just what they can offer you) and to realize that while you're offering them a free book, you're also asking for their time, effort, and space on the blog they're trying to promote.
(This is all from post-publication research on my part and not experience, so take it with as much salt as you like) :) hope it helps!! Best of luck with your new book :D


message 12: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Hi Shannon. If you're looking for editorial reviews, most sites charge, but there are a few, like Reader's Favorite, who allow you to submit a book for free (they have a paid option as well and I think they hold back free books to push the paid option)

If you are looking for customer reviews, well, folks are divided in the topic of asking vs organic. The only thing you need to know is that paying for a customer review is a violation of FTC regulations and yes, this goes for big named sites that exploit gray areas by taking your money but only give the reviewers free books. If you want to offer free copies in exchange for a review, your best bet would be to reach out to the book blogger communities, but make sure that you are mindful. As Riley stated, our group is for authors, so while we have an area where folks can request reviews, that is not our focus. Other groups might be more open, especially groups of reviewers, but still others might be quite strict and see such requests as spam or bad author behavior. Reading the rules and asking questions is always the best step.


message 13: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) As they say, beggars can't be choosers. lol Anyone who's willing to review gets a copy. That's about as complicated as my "method" gets!


message 14: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Maguire | 35 comments Thanks for all the responses. I guess I should clarify that it's editorial reviews (I hope that's the right term) not customer reviews that I'm looking for and definitely free since I have no money. Not that I would pay if I did although it might be tempting.

I'm basically just trying out different things to get my book in front of readers so I was hoping to find a reviewer, blog, website, or whatever that readers actually use to find books and if it's specific to my genre that would be awesome.

I've found tons of stuff, but there's so many of them I was hoping someone might have some tips for how to sort through them all and pick the best one or if people generally know which ones are the better ones. For instance, this list I found has 374 reviewers listed ( I don't know this site so I apologize if it's a bad link for any reason) http://www.theindieview.com/indie-rev... It's taking forever just to sort through let alone pick one and that's just one list. I know I shouldn't be complaining about having too many things to choose from, but the sheer number of them almost makes we want to say forget it and move on to the next promotional technique on my list of stuff to try. I like the idea of getting a review like this, but so far it seems more time consuming than it's worth.


message 15: by Chad (new)

Chad Descoteaux 1) they have to like sci-fi
2) they have to be willing to do it for free.
3) yeah,don't pay.


message 16: by E.P. (new)

E.P. | 57 comments Kindle Book Review https://www.thekindlebookreview.net/b... does free reviews, as does Readers' Favorite mentioned above. Midwest Book Review http://www.midwestbookreview.com/ reviews print copies for free, but charges $50 for e-books. However, as mentioned above, your chances of getting a review is pretty low; I submitted to all three and only got a review from Midwest Book Review. If you want customer reviews as well, Goodreads has review groups (such as "Review Group") in which people sign up to provide non-reciprocal reviews of group members' books.


message 17: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Onlinebookclub.org will also provide a free review. Just keep in mind, there's no guarantee that you get a review from Reader's Favorite or Onlinebookclub.org unless you "donate." Your book can get passed over by all their reviewers.


message 18: by J. (new)

J. Quantaman (joquantaman) | 16 comments What about authors whose conscience won't stomach print books? Good Reads giveaways aren't feasible for eBooks only. eBooks will dominate over print books in the sometime future, so how about a policy that works for authors of eBooks?


message 19: by J. (new)

J. Quantaman (joquantaman) | 16 comments Joe wrote: "Onlinebookclub.org will also provide a free review. Just keep in mind, there's no guarantee that you get a review from Reader's Favorite or Onlinebookclub.org unless you "donate." Your book can get..."

Be wary of "Onlinebookclub.org" - I have 3 reviews pending with them with donations, but so far nothing has happened after 30 days.


message 20: by Annelies (new)

Annelies Pool (anneliespool) I've had quite a number of people in my area (Yellowknife, NT Canada) tell me how much they lilike my book (Free Love), both in person and on Facebook. So I thought I would try to encourage these people to post reviews on Amazon. I did this through a Facebook ad that ran for three days and it got a lot of attention. It was shared about 20 times. Many people commented positively and encouraged other people to write reviews. However, nobody actually posted a review. I had to laugh. This whole effort did generate a few book sales, though. I have had some success in asking people who comment on my book directly to post reviews. I don't like to bug or nag people, though. I'm just happy if they read and enjoyed the book.


message 21: by Eva (new)

Eva Pasco (evapasco) | 90 comments While I'm awaiting the 2nd proof for my upcoming novel, I've been doing just that - tedious soil tilling to scout for potential book reviewers. If you start by googling "book reviews" you'll be led from one outpost to another. It's already been mentioned about reading the review policies as to what format is acceptable.

Shannon, enjoy your journey of discovery.


message 22: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Ferguson | 40 comments For instance, this list I found has 374 reviewers listed ( I don't know this site so I apologize if it's a bad link for any reason) http://www.theindieview.com/indie-rev... I.

I also went through this list. I think I had one or two agree to a review. Others I have been on a list since publishing in November (2015). In particular, literogo https://literogo.com/2016/06/10/the-l... I still have 70 books ahead of me.

As for newspapers and magazines, you just have to find out if they do reviews and who does them, then write or call and ask. I had one local arts magazine agree to one back in November, and it hasn't shown up yet.

On Facebook, there's Peachy Keen Book Reviews by Ashley Nestler. She is good and turns them around quickly. https://www.facebook.com/amnestler/?f... And Erynn Crittenden (Lady Erynn's Honest Reviews) https://www.facebook.com/ladyerynns.h...

It is definitely a lot of work and an uphill battle. Hope this helps. If you find anything else, please share. Good luck!


message 23: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Maguire | 35 comments Thanks for all of the suggestions. I'm going to look at some of the sites mentioned and dig around a little more before I give up on the idea. If I find anything good, I'll definitely share it here.


message 24: by Owen (last edited Jun 12, 2016 11:37PM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments We don't choose reviewers. We let them choose us.

Interesting factoid I happened upon recently. I checked a dozen or so books on Amazon that all had roughly a dozen to 30 or so reviews. All of these books had large percentage of reviews the author solicited ("I received this book...").

So I filtered by "verified purchase" to see what the difference was between the reviews left by purchasers and those left by people the author sent the book. What happened?

In every case but one, all of the critical reviews were by people the author sent the book to, or other reviewers who were not verified as having bought it. (In the one other case, there are a single 3-star review be a verified purchaser.)

If these authors had not sent their book out for review, they would have fewer reviews, but they would all have been 4 or 5 stars from verified purchasers. They actually are making their work look worse by seeking reviews.

So think twice before sending your work out. The person you are sending it to did not choose your book. Thus, their interest in your book is not there to begin with. They are agreeing to review it for you, but lacking that initial interest, they may not be all that engaged. So they are more likely to write a lukewarm review. They may also feel the need to be "critical" because they got the book for free, and wish to appear unbiased.

Whatever the reason, they are more likely to make your book look less appealing than more appealing. There is no reason to take that chance. Just let the reviews come in naturally.

Having said all, and noting that you are looking for editorial reviews, I agree with this: don't pay. Unless the editorial review is from someone with a lot of credibility in your genre, it unlikely to make much difference. A top blogger in your genre might do some good, but the very fact they are a top blogger is likely to mean it will be difficult to get a review from them. And in that case, the benefit is mostly from the mention on their website (or newsletter etc), not that you can post the review as an editorial review.

Many places do offer editorial reviews, often for a fee. A tiny handful have enough credibility to move the needle when it comes to selling a book. And tiny handful is hard to get a review with (unless you are already a bestseller). This is why we never seek reviews of any kind. It's not worth our time, and may do more harm than good.


message 25: by Eva (new)

Eva Pasco (evapasco) | 90 comments Owen,

While I agree wholeheartedly with everything you've written, I'll be damned if I'm not compiling a list of potential reviewers for my upcoming novel in my attempt to get some handwriting on Amazon's wall.

When I was an avid reader before I turned up the heat writing what I hope others will want to read, I never looked at book reviews to sway or dissuade picking up a read. I'd peruse the synopsis and go from there.

I know soliciting reviews can be a double-edged sword.

I predict your post will get many responses. And, that's not a review ...


message 26: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Maguire | 35 comments Owen wrote: "We don't choose reviewers. We let them choose us.

Interesting factoid I happened upon recently. I checked a dozen or so books on Amazon that all had roughly a dozen to 30 or so reviews. All of th..."


Thanks for the great points, Owen. This is one of the reasons I'm finding it hard to find an editorial reviewer I feel comfortable sending my book to. As you mentioned, the reviewer you solicit didn't choose your book and therefore may not be that interested. That's why I'm hoping to find a reviewer that just reviews books similar to mine. That way at least I know they like the genre and may be likely to enjoy the book.


message 27: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments One does not simply choose a reviewer.


message 28: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Maguire | 35 comments Charles wrote: "One does not simply choose a reviewer."

I'm not saying I'll choose a reviewer in the essence that I think they'll accept me because I chose them. What I mean by choosing a reviewer is that I'm looking for a reviewer to submit my book to in the hopes that it will interest them and they will be the one who chooses to read and review it or not. I have seen numerous reviewers who have a page or instructions on how you can go about asking them if they would be interested in reading your book and I wouldn't contact a reviewer that didn't indicate that it was okay to do so and I also don't intend to pay anyone to review my book. I myself don't see anything wrong with trying to get my book in front of someone who professionally reviews books and who may actually be interested in reviewing my book. I'm completely unknown, so I have to find some way to get my book in front of people.


message 29: by Joe (new)

Joe Jackson (shoelessauthor) Charles was making a joke based on the infamous Boramir meme. ;)


message 30: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 780 comments Ah, one of the age old questions. I'm still wondering myself as to where one can get reviews. Of course there's BookBub, NetGalley and Kirkus but who has the money for that? I'm big on trying to get reviews for free without having to spend an arm and a leg and then trying to makes sales to equal that money spent on the reviews.

Author Marketing Club has a feature for premium members where they can get reviews by reaching out to people within their genre. Of course AMC's premium membership is expensive as well however I would consider this over a place like Kirkus because your going to get way more value and way more help to promote and sell your book whereas you'll just get reviews the hard way on Kirkus.


message 31: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Owen wrote: "We don't choose reviewers. We let them choose us.
.
.
.
So think twice before sending your work out. The person you are sending it to did not choose your book. Thus, their interest in your book is not there to begin with. They are agreeing to review it for you, but lacking that initial interest, they may not be all that engaged. So they are more likely to write a lukewarm review. They may also feel the need to be "critical" because they got the book for free, and wish to appear unbiased."


I agree with Owen 100%. I don't solicit reviews. I don't want someone who didn't CHOOSE on their own to read my book to review it. I leave the reviews to my natural readers. The reviews build slowly, but they're genuinely heart felt, and I find that priceless. I do send out ARCs to my "early reading team," but they've asked to be on that list.

April


message 32: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Cunegan (jdcunegan) | 239 comments Anyone who actually says yes...


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